Video blog reviewer Kass Schmitt shares 10 of her favourite Youtube boat restorations - as reviewed in the pages of Practical Boat Owner magazine

Boat restoration projects on Youtube never get old – for a start: the boats are often older than the people restoring them! But for anyone considering taking on a project, immersion in a few of the channels listed below may provide inspiration, techniques and help you avoid common pitfalls.

The video bloggers themselves will usually answer sensible questions, but do take the time to read through some of the comments below the line, as quite often even wiser heads prevail. Just be aware that your quick 15-minute video could easily turn into a three-hour read late into the night!

In no particular order of preference, here is a wide range of Youtube boat restorations that I have reviewed in my regular column in Practical Boat Owner magazine. Enjoy!

1. Tally Ho – Sampson Boat Co

In the lead up to lockdown, Leo Goolden and his small team at the Sampson Boat Company were making huge strides on the rebuild of the 1925 Fastnet Race winning yacht, Tally Ho, even if one of those strides was… in the wrong direction.

After fitting all the new deck beams and carlins they discover a good number are not actually white oak but a timber with the wicking characteristics of red oak.

Leo takes the sensible decision to redo them.

History of Tally Ho (RORC presentation / Ep.48(Pt1)

In Summer 2019, Leo gave a talk at the Royal Ocean Racing Club In London, which he kindly recorded and published on YouTube for the benefit of those of us who were not able to attend.

2. Sailing Yacht Kora

The number of channels inspired by Leo is also growing. There’s a buzz about 17-year-old Ashmole Faire-Ring’s channel Sailing Barge Growler, documenting his ambitious rebuild of a wooden sailing barge, but more to my taste is the channel Sailing Yacht Zora. Kinsale-based Rhys Walters is rebuilding a Koopmans (senior) designed steel blue water cruiser. The aim is to sail her to the Canaries, the Caribbean and beyond. She’s already sailing again and the focus is now on the interior fit out. With over 10,000 subscribers, I reckon this channel is going places.

3. Motor launch Gesida – Back Down On The Boat

Another Leo-inspired series that’s charmed me is Back Down on the Boat. Durham-based baker Paul Spooner is renovating Gesida, his ex-Admiralty wooden motor launch. We see him single-handedly reinstalling the reconditioned 750lb engine, a challenge for anyone, but even more impressive considering that Paul has ME and needs a wheelchair half the time. In addition, he muses on the benefits of boat work on his mental health. I’m sure many can relate when he says that it’s more than a hobby, it provides an escape from the trials of life and motivation to persevere when things get hard.

4. Westerly Centaur Lagertha – Sailing LAGERTHA

A refrain I frequently hear is that (insert name of) popular channel has become boring now that the boat’s in good shape or they’ve upgraded to a newer, shinier model, or they’ve learned how to sail, and are now spending all their time spear-fishing and sharing ceviche recipes. If you relate to that sentiment and need an antidote…

Yorkshireman Layton Barr of Sailing LAGERTHA has recently bought a Westerly Centaur, renamed her after his favourite viking shieldmaiden, and plans to fix her up and then go explore the Norwegian fjords… once he learns to sail. Expect to learn a thing or two about marine electronics from Layton, as that’s his profession. He’s pretty sure we’re not going to like the new livery he’s got planned.

5.  Lightship South Goodwin – Harry Dwyer

Professional video director Harry Dwyer has created a surprisingly engaging video on his channel Harry Dwyer about removing a huge quantity of expanding foam from inside a decommissioned lightship. The project takes nearly two years and the team displays an impressive amount of persistence and ingenuity.

As a reward for his filmmaking services, Harry is given the lightship’s tender, an Avon Sea Rider SR4 RIB. So he also made a series of videos about renovating the RIB.

Project Speedboat Part 7

6. Hurley Silhouette MkII Misumi – Alex Goes Sailing

The COVID-19 lockdown has led to the birth of a number of new channels, as frustrated sailors get busy in the editing suite instead of on the water. One that caught my eye is Alex Goes Sailing, in which a resourceful young lad from south-west London acquires a 1960 Hurley Silhouette MkII for £60 and slowly rebuilds it before embarking on a number of trailer-sailing coastal adventures in the Solent and Devon. Alex has since traded up to a £300 1970 Vivacity 650 bilge-keeler. One to watch.

7. Pearson 36 Uma – Sailing Uma

Meanwhile, at the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth, Sailing Uma’s Dan and Kika managed to finish a number of ambitious projects on their Pearson 36 and relaunch before the UK lockdown began. Recent episodes see them replacing their electric motor and shaft drive with a snazzy second-hand Oceanvolt saildrive propulsion system and working with their friends at Multimarine to design, construct and fit a carbon fibre bowsprit in anticipation of adding a Code 0 to their sail wardrobe. If you don’t have friends willing to knock up a carbon fibre sprit for you don’t worry, I’m reliably informed that the lower portion of a windsurfer mast can also work.

(The Uma’s are always busy with new DIY – here’s their ‘Creative Tiny Wood Stove Installation’)

8. Carter 33 Chak Matay – Bums on a boat

Bums on a Boat is another channel chronicling the rescue of a classic that many would consider a lost cause. In this case it’s a modern classic, a Carter 33 built in Greece in 1974. The rescuers are an entertaining young American couple who, after sailing some time in the Caribbean, hauled out in Luperon, Dominican Republic to discover serious structural issues. I recommend starting from the haul-out at episode 62.

9. Gamelin Madeira 37 Chuffed – Vet Tails Sailing Chuffed

Meanwhile, in Mexico, sailing vet Dr Sheddy on Vet Tails’ Sailing Chuffed rises to the challenge of being the suddenly single owner of her 1990 Gamelin Madeira 37, while continuing to do her admirable voluntary work of providing lifesaving treatments to pets and wildlife.

10. Leopard 50 Happy Together – Sailing SV Happy Together

YouTube’s recommendation algorithm suggested I check out Sailing SV Happy Together, which is the closest thing I’ve seen to an episode of MTV Cribs for yachties. Randy and Lenny are an American couple in their 50s who last year traded up their Leopard 48 to a new Leopard 50, and, after taking delivery of the boat, proceeded to spend an eye-watering amount of money on extensive upgrades to, well, everything they could think of, in preparation for their eventual participation in the World ARC Rally.